Clemson is a public university – The whole campus is a free speech zone.
A Clemson University student who is part of Young Americans for Freedom was praying on campus with a man who’s not a student this weekend when an administrator approached them and told them to stop.
Red Alert Politics reported:
Clemson stops man from praying on campus: ‘Not a free speech area’ [VIDEO]
A man was stopped by a Clemson University administrator for praying on campus, telling him and a Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) activist that “this is not a designated free speech area,” and asking them to leave the area. YAF’s blog The New Guard released the video today.
The administrator, Shawn Jones who is the assistant director for client services, also called their praying “solicitation,” and demanded that they would need to fill out paperwork to continue. Clemson receives state and federal funding, and many see these restrictions as disregarding the First Amendment to the Constitution by limiting free speech to certain zones.
The Young Americans for Freedom member, Kyra Palange, asked the administrator, “by that, you mean there are free speech areas on campus and that the entire campus is not a free speech area?”
Jones responded, “that is correct.”
Palange released the following statement to YAF:
“I was walking across the grassy area near Fort Hill after class at about 3:15 when I saw someone sitting in a folding chair. Next to him was another folding chair with an 8×10 sign that said PRAYER. I approached him and we sat down to pray for a few minutes. When we finished, a man from the university approached us and said he could not be praying there because it was not a “designated free speech area” and presented the person who was praying with a form for the procedures for applying for “solicitation” on campus. He told him he had to leave.”
Here’s the video:
As noted above, Clemson is a public university which makes this incident even more questionable. A campus representative of YAF concurred.
Campus Reform reports:
In an interview with Campus Reform, Palange said she was extremely surprised by the fact that Clemson would kick a man off campus for praying in a non free speech zone, arguing that the entire campus should be a free speech zone.
“As a public and publicly funded university, I did not think Clemson would even have free speech zones,” she remarked. “I did not think it was legal for them to remove a non-student from campus simply for communicating with students.”
William Turton, a Clemson student and chairman of the university’s YAF chapter, told Campus Reform that the administration’s claim of solicitation was unreasonable.
“This is a public space on a public university, so the idea that non-students aren’t allowed free speech on certain areas of campus is unreasonable,” Turton remarked.
“It’s a stretch to say that a man praying is the same as someone setting up shop and selling stuff on campus,” he added, observing that “[Roberts] wasn’t going out and running up to students and asking them to pray with him, the man was not being disruptive in anyway at all.”
America desperately needs higher education reform, if only to protect freedom of speech.
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